SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK
This park has more than 10 distinct natural communities, dozens of springs, and miles of beautiful trails.
The park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. The center is operated by the Marion County School District in cooperation with the park and is open to the public on weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00. p.m. Admission to the Museum is $2.00 per person. Children under 6 are free. For more information please visit Silver River Museum
Visitors can canoe down the crystal clear river, hike or bike along one of the nature trails, or just sit and watch for the wide variety of birds and wildlife.
The picnic area features three pavilions with grills that may be rented for group outings and a playground for the youngsters.
For overnight stays, the park has a full facility campground and 10 luxury cabins.
Located east of Ocala, one mile south of State Road 40 on State Road 35.
Almost 5,000 acres of varying habitats provide a wonderful home for many different species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Frequent sightings include armadillos, deer, turkey, fox, Sherman Fox Squirrel and gopher tortoises. Less frequently seen are coyote, bobcats and Florida Black Bear. Bird life is plentiful! Silver River is the home to a significant population of Limpkins, and many other water and woodland birds. Wildlife listing available at the park.
The Silver River has a rich and colorful history from Paleo-Indians 12,000 years ago, to European contact 500 years ago, to the early 1800's when it first became a tourist attraction and shipping center.
History as a Florida State Park is not quite as extensive! The land was purchased by the State of Florida in 1985 and management went to Dept of Recreation and Parks in 1987. Also in 1987, through the wide spread help of grantors and community supporters, the Marion County School District opened the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center on park property. Marion County school children in grades four and seven are required to participate in an environmental education program at the Center.
Silver River State Park opened to the public in 1987, but there was nothing here other than the Education Center. When Park Manager Robert LaMont arrived in 1996 he had one Park Ranger and one OPS employee. There were no roads, ranger station or camping - the "park" was almost 5,000 acres of just plain land, albeit beautiful Central Florida ecology.
The main park entryway off State Road 35 (Baseline) was completed in 1999 and that was the beginning of several years of growing!The Ranger Station and campground were completed in 2000 and work was begun on the first 6 cabins, which opened in 2001. By this time, the Park staff had grown to a Park Manager, Assistant Park Manager, 5 rangers, 1 Admin. Assist, and several OPS employees.
The last four cabins were completed in 2002 while work was begun on the picnic area and playground. In 2003 the picnic area was completed and the canoe/kayak launch was opened in 2004. The years 2005 and 2006 were a big sigh of relief as we "relaxed" in our construction efforts and watched our visitation numbers skyrocket.
Currently we are in the process of getting a Visitor Service Provider in the park to provide a shuttle service to the canoe/kayak launch and rentals. We are also in the planning stage for equine trails on the north side of the park. From 1985 to today, even with all the recreational development, our prime concern has been to use the land gently and responsibly to insure the resource is here for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Silver River offers ten luxurious cabins that will sleep a maximum of six people each. Each cabin has a full dining area, two bedrooms, one bath, stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, gas fireplace, heating and air-conditioning, screened porch, dishes, pots & pans, silverware, linen, towels, picnic tables and rockers on the porch. All you need is food and your personal items. Beginning July 2008 we will still be providing linens but guests will be required to make their own beds.
Fort King & Sharpes Ferry Camping Areas Come and enjoy our 59 site campground. All our sites are very spacious and can easily handle any size camping unit you may have. As well as being very spacious, each site offers water and electric hook-ups with 30 amp service and 6 sites with 50 amp service. All sites have fire rings, a barbecue grill and a picnic table. Also available is a separate dump station for holding tanks. Firewood is available at the Ranger Station.
59 spacious campsites nestled in a lightly wooded area offer electricity and water. Each campsite is level, easily accessible and large enough to accommodate large RV's. Some sites available with 50 amp service. Picnic tables, grills and campfire rings are in all sites.
The Youth Group camping area is in a lovely setting amid tall pines. This is primitive camping only - no shower facilities, electricity or potable water. There are self mulching toilets (better than port-a-potties), picnic tables and fire rings at each of the sites. For organized groups only, reservations can be made by calling the park at 352-236-7148.
The Silver River is one of the most beautiful and peaceful rivers you will ever paddle. With two launching points, it is up to you how much of a work out you will get from your ride. The most popular launching point is from Rays Wayside Boat Basin at the western foot of the Ocklawaha bridge on State highway 40. The other option is to launch from the end of our River Trail. This does require you to carry your vessel .6 miles from the parking lot to the river. We have canoe rentals available from the park. You will pick up your paddles and life vests at the Ranger Station, drive down to the River Trail, walk .6 mile to the launching area where you can pick up your canoe. Rentals are per hour on a first come first served basis. Pets are not permitted in the canoes.